Self-love and self-care is not selfish, but rather self-full.
Fill yourself up first so you are able to pour into others,
while not burning yourself out.
See Powerful Video clip
Aurora Community Counseling
Wendy Prigge LSW-CSAC
Aurora Community Counseling was a partner (Honorary Sponsor) with TSOI’s past Recovery Month events.
*No Blogs were meant to substitute professional counseling or other assistance
Feelings are something we have the most of but know the least of how to deal with. We learn from our role models who are often our parents, grandparents, other family members, teachers, or a friend. Sometimes we have good role models and sometimes not. Some families are very open and too much in everyone’s business. Some are very quiet and avoid sharing much of anything. People go through life avoiding any significant disclosures which leads to people playing roles trying to be the kind of person they think others expect.
In chemical dependent families there is usually the “NO TALK” rule. There can be an elephant in the living room but no one talks about it. The family pretends everything is ok. Everyone is expected to protect the family by keeping the dirty laundry a secret. The family members are expected to seek help only within the family but even within the family we don’t talk about certain things such as how mom or dad acted last night when he or she was drinking. This is what we call denial. It occurs with the family and with the person who is chemically dependent or alcoholic.
So why would we talk about feelings in recovery? People addicted to alcohol and drugs use or drink for relief. The first symptom of this disease is to use or drink for relief. The second symptom of the disease is constant relief using or drinking. The number one trigger for those who are alcoholic to drink again is negative emotional effect or negative feelings. So people with chemical dependence stuff their feelings. The whole family learns to stuff feelings. Because people who are alcoholic learn to stuff their feelings they don’t learn to cope with uncomfortable feelings. This leaves them at risk for relapse.
So why are feelings important anyway? What is the big deal? Our feelings are a big part of who we are. We need to be able to identify them and share them with the people closest to us so they can know us. When we hide our feeling people have to guess what you are feeling. People may assume they know what you are feeling which leads to wrong assumptions. This can lead to conflict. The people who want to know us such as our family and friends can be left in the dark.
Some people who are alcoholic or chemically dependent get high or drunk and do or say things that are very upsetting or mean. Often there are broken promises, broken trust, and strained relationships in families where drinking or drug use occurs. This behavior can result in hurt and angry feelings. Families and people who are chemically dependent need to be able to sort through their problems and feelings from the past to repair their relationships.
Healing occurs when people are able to share honestly and openly without fear. We are human beings that are alive and always growing and changing. We have feelings that are comfortable or uncomfortable but not good or bad. Our feelings are our very personal possessions and need to be managed as they come. In recovery we need to be able to identify our feelings, avoid suppressing them, and develop coping skills to manage them. We need to know how to share our feelings appropriately. They are always changing.
*TSOI recognizes that the lack of communication not only happens to families where substance abuse is involved, but to a variety of families and situations. Just because alcohol or other drugs may not be involved doesn’t mean that the dynamics in the family are healthy.
A Perfect Person
Never hurt anyone. Doesn’t Cry. Doesn’t fail. Doesn’t Exist.
We all have some place where we fall short…..spiritual progress versus perfection.
Acknowledge, make amends if needed, learn, forgive yourself, move on……..GROW.
“Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person”. Dr. David M. Burns
Recidivism in Recovery, Our Emotions are not our enemy, although belief systems may be
There are various reasons to why this might be. People may not be quite ready for the changes they need to make, also for a variety of reasons. It is scary to move away from what you always relied on, what was familiar even though it may not have served you well. Many times people are not even consciously aware that they are actually doing this. Belief systems that were created from different life experiences, many times from childhood, keep people stuck in various patterns that are self-defeating in their lives. A person can break free by challenging those belief systems, but first they have to be conscious of those patterns. Sometimes it takes time and opportunities come about to help bring those things to light. It can come through people, circumstances, or time alone in a place of quiet reflection. Writing is a great tool to help work out some of those past hurts and break down the belief systems that were formed from them. Art is another great way to get in touch and be able to express your feelings and process.
Does this mean that a person will no longer have moments of discouragement, sadness, fear, doubt, etc? Of course these things will always attempt to come in to try to detour us from our focus of moving ahead. Some emotions are part of the human experience of processing real pain and grief. Emotions do not have to be scary and this is one thing that keeps people from finding recovery. They are afraid of emotions. It can be out of guilt. Maybe they were taught that emotions are bad or emotions make you appear weak. They may believe they need to be “Strong” and on top of things. They are afraid of being judged and not respected anymore especially if they were once recognized as a leader. Maybe they were simply never allowed their emotions and the opportunity to process or express them. Shame is the underpinnings of these reasons and belief systems.
When I was working through various healing in my life, I had to throw all the shame aside and learn to embrace my emotions, allow them, and process them. From there I was able to explore those emotions, break them down, and then challenge the belief systems that were created from them.
God, a belief in a higher power, life’s lessons, or whatever you believe to find your peace, is gentle with the intention of helping us become free and to be all that we were ultimately meant to be. There are consequences that come with certain choices, but it is at the same time a teaching moment that can move us to the next level of consciousness and growth. If you do not get the break-through at first, the opportunity will come about again through another set of circumstances or people until we understand what we were supposed to.
Now, the biggest lesson I had to learn through some of my processes, is to simply be gentle with myself and patient with the process. Everyone can use a recovery in life from something so to speak.
For others with a chemical dependency issue, the drug and alcohol dependency or abuse is still the symptom of. Sure it complicates things more, but once you are off the drug, through time, your body is no longer at that moment physically addicted. What is left is the “stuff”. Stuff that was there before you developed the dependency, and ever since it became an issue. It is the stuff you need to get to or it is inevitable that you will either be back to using alcohol or other drugs in an abusive or dependent manner, become what is known as a dry drunk, or not experience the new freedom that come with the promises of recovery.
Life is still life, and people and challenges will continue for everyone. Nobody can go it alone. We all need somebody. There is never any shame in that.